Exclusive: DOJ probing people who worked in DB's mortgage unit

NEW YORK (IFR) - The US Department of Justice is investigating potential wrongdoing by individuals who worked in Deutsche Bank’s mortgage unit in the run-up to the financial crisis, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

The headquarters of Germany's Deutsche Bank are seen early evening in Frankfurt, Germany January 31, 2017. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

The probe of former Deutsche staffers is a push to hold individuals accountable for their role in the housing crisis, one of the sources said.

The DOJ and Deutsche declined to comment.

The probe follows Deutsche’s US$7.2bn settlement in December with the DOJ over the sale of toxic residential mortgage securities between 2006 and 2007.

No individuals who worked at Deutsche were named in the settlement. But the DOJ left open the possibility of pursuing individuals who had worked at Deutsche.

In a January 17 press release outlining the facts, finalization and terms of the settlement, the DOJ said that the settlement with Deutsche does not release any individuals from potential criminal or civil liability.

Separately, the DOJ in December named two former Barclays RMBS staffers in a civil suit it filed against Barclays and some of its US affiliates.

The complaint against Barclays alleged that the bank and its staffers fraudulently sold tens of billions of dollars of RMBS, and repeatedly misled investors about the quality of the mortgages backing those deals.

The individuals named in the Barclays complaint, Paul Menefee and John Carroll, have obtained their own legal counsel, a Barclays spokesperson said.

Menefee was Barclays’ head banker on its subprime RMBS securitizations, and Carroll was Barclays’ head trader for subprime loan acquisitions.

“It is surprising and extremely disappointing that the government decided to file this highly unusual lawsuit. John Carroll intends to challenge these ill-conceived and baseless allegations, and expects to be fully vindicated,” Crowell & Moring partner Glen McGorty, who is representing Carroll, said in an emailed statement to IFR.

A response to the complaint against Carroll has not yet been filed, McGorty said.

Lawyers for Menefee did not immediately respond to requests for comment. No filing has been made on behalf of Menefee, according to a search of the federal court docket.

Barclays previously said it rejects the claims made in the complaint.

“Barclays considers that the claims made in the complaint are disconnected from the facts. We have an obligation to our shareholders, customers, clients, and employees to defend ourselves against unreasonable allegations and demands. Barclays will vigorously defend the complaint and seek its dismissal at the earliest opportunity,” the bank said in a statement.